Without a doubt, COVID-19 has brought about many challenges for vulnerable communities. But this has only added to the ongoing health issues experienced in smaller communities in countries like Northern Thailand. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Thailand's history has shown to be rather successful in their health development and their life expectancy rate averages at about 70 years old. However, this doesn’t take away from the lack of health education and resources to marginalised groups.
At Challenges Abroad we work with Hill Tribe villages neighbouring Mae Sariang. So, if you volunteer with us in Thailand you’ll be away from the hustle and bustle of the city and experience life in a more authentic country side setting. We run educational and health promotion programs which include teaching the community better practices of health and safety.
We’ve had past groups of volunteers build washing hand stations in local schools with murals for the students to follow along. We find it a crucial part of our teaching to help young students understand the importance of such a simple act. If there is one thing we’ve constantly heard throughout this global pandemic, it’s ‘wash your hands.’
One of the most prominent health issues faced in communities across Thailand is the Dengue Virus. In 2020, there have been 28 thousand cases recorded which have unfortunately led to 53 deaths. This death toll is close to double the 33 deaths recorded in 2018.
This virus is caused by mosquitos which thrive in standing freshwater and can be found close to homes, inside buckets, tin cans and other containers. Seasonal changes also play a role in the spread of the virus. Thailand’s rainy season (May – October) saw a rise in the number of Dengue Virus cases. It is vital to ensure community members are educated on how to help reduce the number of mosquitos in their homes, by covering areas of water and using sprays. It is also important to ensure everyone is washing their hands with soap and water.
It was recorded in 2018 by WHO that Influenza and Pneumonia caused over 44 thousand deaths (9.11% of total deaths). They are both the third leading cause of death in Thailand.
Another huge threat in the communities we work with is their lack of knowledge for personal hygienic practices. Like washing hands, these basic daily practices can prevent a lot of unnecessary illness. Our volunteering programs aim to educate students and their families and provide interactive classes, getting them involved. If you volunteer with us you will be able to work in a team to deliver workshops that aim to create more awareness around health.
Our hill tribe villages are significantly disadvantaged when it comes to healthcare and lack the resources for any first aid. This can burden under-resourced hospitals with basic problems. Joining us on our Paramedic Challenge, you’ll be able to deliver first aid workshops at schools and in the community. Our charity is hoping to further enable local communities with the tools to support themselves and emergency staff.
A major public health issue is road traffic incidents and they are also a leading cause to deaths in Thailand with over 22 thousand people killed in 2018. This is because of a lack of adherence to the use of safety restraints and obedience of local laws. Over time these incidents have created a huge economic burden on the country.
So, while Thailand has come a long way with their health development, there are still many gaps. Our charity The FutureSense Foundation are working very hard at the moment to have more interactive workshops and to future implement more knowledge into local communities on health. We are looking forward to having new volunteers in 2021 to support out Hill Tribe villages in Thailand. Express your interest here!